newslogo*Eddie Larson Inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame

*Where Have All the Good Cops Gone…

*Buell With Wood Fastest in Louden

*Buell Inducted into the National Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame

*Polaris CEO Sends Company’s Machines to Battle Flooding


by Gus Breiland

Eddie Lawson Inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame
Motorcycle racing legend Eddie Lawson has been was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame on June 12, 2002. The four time champion (1984, 1986, 1988, and 1989) in the FIM 500 World Championship, now MotoGP, Eddie holds the record for American riders. With his first 3 titles riding with Yamaha and the last title riding Honda, Eddie won 31 500 Grand Prixs. He also found the podium in 2 AMA Superbike championships and 2 AMA 250 Grand Prix tiles.

Eddie became the 13th rider to be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame behind such greats as Carroll Resweber, Bart Markel, Cannonball Baker, Kenny Roberts, Joe Leonard, Joe Petrali, Bob Hannah, Dick Mann, Roger DeCoster, Malcolm Smith, Jim Davis and Freddie Spencer.

Eddie began his professional racing career on the dirt tracks of Southern California. Switching over to road racing by the late-1970s he won his first road racing championship in 1980. After winning four AMA national titles he moved on to the world championship arena in 1983. He won his first Grand Prix in South Africa in March of 1984. During his decade on the GP circuit Lawson rode for Yamaha, Honda and Cagiva. In July of 1992, Lawson won his final GP in Hungary &emdash; this also marked the first 500cc Grand Prix win for Italian maker Cagiva. That would be Lawson’s last full year of motorcycle racing. He did come back to race the Daytona 200 and Suzuka Eight Hours races for Yamaha.

Where Have All the Good Cops Gone…
They’re not in Tennessee. It got so bad according to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) during an emergency meeting held on June 5, the city of Rockford voted to disband the 4 member police department immediately.

Catching the riding communities attention when Rockford Police Sgt. James Ray Johnson allegedly intentionally swerved into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist on Old Knoxville Highway on March 10, 2001, killing rider Philip Laton, 27, instantly. Mr. Laton, is the father of three and was a corrections officer on his way to work at the Juvenile Detention Center in Knoxville when he was killed.

Johnson has since been charged with vehicular homicide and is free on a $25,000 bond pending trial. If convicted, the officer faces up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Since then, the Blount County Sheriff’s Department has ended its mutual-aid agreement with the Rockford Police Department with a lawsuit pending from Mr. Laton’s widow that includes the police department, sheriff’s department and others.

Mr. Laton’s death wasn’t the first run-in with motorcyclists for the Rockford Police Department. Just five weeks earlier, a motorcyclist was seriously injured following a high-speed chase involving another Rockford police officer. James B. Riddle, 19, of Maryville, Tenn., suffered near-fatal injuries in a crash after he was pursued along Old Knoxville Highway. Those incidents followed a crash in May 2000 in which Jennifer L. Bean of Rockford was killed when her car was hit by a Rockford police vehicle. The officer driving the vehicle was on his way to assist a Blount County deputy sheriff.

Buell With Wood Fastest in Louden
Eric Wood rode the new Buell Firebolt XB9R to its first national road victory in the Formula USA Honda Pro Oils Sportbike at the New Hampshire International Speedway. This was the first outing of the Firebolt with Wood at the helm and the first appearance or the Kosco Buell / Innovative Motorcycle Research Firebolt in the highly competitive horsepower and weight restricted class.

“This was a great start for the Firebolt.” said Wood. “We just got this bike two weeks ago and ran a club race last weekend to warm it up. The Firebolt has a lot of potential and we’re only going to get stronger as the season goes on.”

“The Buell’s tractability and drive off of corners really worked for me at Louden, ” said Wood. “In some turns I was able to put the Buell in places where the four-cylinder bikes couldn’t go.”

The Formula USA Sportbike class features production-based motorcycles limited to a maximum of 115 horsepower and a minimum of 365 pounds.

Buell Inducted into the National Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame
Erik Buell, chairman and chief technical officer of Buell Motorcycle Company was inducted into the National Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame during Daytona Bike Week. Recognized as a leader in the industry, Buell joins other legends such as Willie G. Davidson, Jim Davis and Joe Parkhurst, all previous inductees into the Hall of Fame.

Buell has had a long history of developing motorcycles that break new ground in form, fit and function. He began his career designing motorcycles while attending the University of Pittsburgh and working his way through school as a mechanic and custom bike builder. Fueling his passion even further, Buell started road racing in 1973 and was up to professional status within a few years.

By 1984, this cheesehead was building Formula One class racers at his home in rural Wisconsin. Just as Buell was beginning to make a name for himself, the American Motorcyclist Association eliminated Formula One racing and the market for his motorcycles. After six more years working as an independent manufacturer, Buell realized he needed a partner. Harley-Davidson, Inc. bought the majority interest in Buell Motorcycle Company in 1998, with Buell staying on as chairman and chief technical officer.

Constantly rethinking the industry is what has set Buell, and the motorcycles with his name embossed on them, apart from the other sportbikes. Design philosophies of mass centralization, low unsprung weight and frame rigidity have allowed Buell to create the ultimate streetfighters.

Polaris CEO Sends Company’s Machines to Battle Flooding
With another historic flood engulfing the town of Roseau Minnesota, Polaris President and CEO Tom Tiller ordered ATVs and other work vehicles in inventory to assist in sandbagging, earth moving, dike-building, water pumping and emergency transportation. 75 Polaris ATVs and a fleet of commercial All-Surface Loaders and Utility Task Vehicles were used in places that larger, heavier vehicles had difficulty accessing.

Nearly 150 of the company’s water pump and 50 generators have been running day and night since the night of June 10th removing water from basements and providing electricity. As the water recedes, crews of Polaris employees are going house to house to pump out basements. It is always nice to see a company, like Polaris, understand that its investment lies not only in the facilities that make product, but the people and communities they reside in.


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